October 10: We built regional government that works – in Germany

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From: John R Bundell, Matterdale Road, Dewsbury.

WE hear a great deal of rhetoric about devolution, but very little action or agreement as how this can be achieved. We have several council leaders who are hell-bent that the new devolved regional government should not have an elected mayor so what happens to democracy with this new style of governance?

We have a blueprint for regional government in the German system which was after all implemented by the Allies in the 1940s with the UK at the forefront of the system.

This gives a smaller national government with regional assemblies and the local politics being administered by local part time officials under a local mayor.

Having worked for a mayor German company for over 23 years and lived in Germany for two years, I can confirm that this system works.

In conversations with local people, they were very happy with what the system gave them, and it has the accolade of being the best political system in the world.

It is essential that the current local authorities accept change – the amount of power they exert will be reduced for the common good of a regional assembly.

The benefits of this enlarged community could well be enormous by combining police, fire, ambulance and NHS functions to reduce their costs by getting rid of duplicated roles. They could be in a position to give better value for money and provide a much more consistent services.

There would be improved inward investment to provide better employment prospects for the whole region while infrastructure projects would be easier to manage and implement. This would also not disadvantage the rural and urban areas.

In the fullness of time, local administration could revert back to part-time councillors as it was before the Maude report created to local authority system we have today. This would create system where they could concentrate on local issues and leave the regional decisions to the regional assembly and also reduce the costs of running the local governance which would help to balance the increased cost of the regional government.

This, I believe, is the way forward following the increased public involvement in the Scottish independence election. I know some of the points are radical but they are necessary in my opinion to bring 21st century politics to the fore and particularly to get more people off their chairs and to vote for something new and progressive.